Samsung Galaxy S22 review

Previously, we took a first look at the Samsung Galaxy S22 where we gave our first impressions of the smallest of their new flagship trio of smartphones for 2022. This time around, we’ve put it through our paces. Here’s our Samsung Galaxy S22 review where we put it to the test!

Samsung Galaxy S22 Review front

Our Samsung Galaxy S22 Review sample comes in Phantom Black and features a Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 CPU, 8GB RAM, 256GB of storage and a 3,700mAh battery with 25W fast wired charging.

Samsung Galaxy S22 Review – Performance and Benchmarks

This is the first time in years that Samsung is introducing a Snapdragon processor in a Galaxy S-series phone for the Malaysia market with the launch of the Galaxy S22 series.

Prior to this monumental event, Galaxy S series phones intended for deployment in the Malaysia market have traditionally relied on Samsung’s own Exynos processors. While the jury is out on the performance differences in the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor and the new Exynos 2200 CPU, the Galaxy S22 review unit we have is armed for bear and runs circles around the competition.

On top of a spanking new Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor, our Galaxy S22 review unit is paired with 8GB LPDDR5 RAM and either 128GB or 256GB of fast UFS 3.1 storage. Our review sample came with the latter with a generous 256GB of storage.

Compared to its predecessor the Snapdragon 888, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chip is built on a more efficient 4nm process, has a slightly higher clock speed and has performance improvements across the board.

Our Samsung Galaxy S22 review sample ran the latest Android 12 overlaid with Samsung’s own OneUI 4.1 user interface. What makes the Galaxy S22 impressive on the software front is that Samsung has committed to 4 years of software updates and 5 years of security updates which is way ahead of any other Android phone in the local market. This means that it’ll happily stay in service until Android 16 in 2026 which makes for an impressively long service life. 

While 8GB of RAM is considered as decent for a flagship phone, the One UI 4.1 has the novel trick of being able to assign virtual RAM from the onboard storage in 2GB increments so that you’re able to have an additional 2GB all the way to 8GB of VRAM to augment the existing 8GB DDR5 RAM.

5G connectivity is available on the Galaxy S22 on top of WiFi 6 and Bluetooth v5.2. It does however lack some of the more sophisticated tech seen in the Galaxy S22+ and Galaxy S22 Ultra to keep costs down like the faster WiFi 6E standard and Ultra Wide Band support though these two bits of tech aren’t particularly common at present and aren’t going to radically affect your day to day usage experience.

Keeping the Galaxy S22 juiced is a 3,700mAh battery with 25W fast charging, 15W wireless charging and 4.5W reverse wireless charging. It’s slightly smaller than the 4,000mAh battery seen in the older Galaxy S21 but this is balanced out by the more efficient Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 CPU and other power efficiency tweaks in OneUI 4.1 and Android 12.

This is what our Galaxy S22 review sample packs on paper:

Price RM3,499 (8GB RAM/128GB storage), RM3,699 (8GB RAM/256GB storage)
Display 6.1-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X, 1080 x 2,340 pixels resolution, 120Hz refresh rate, HDR10+ and Gorilla Glass Victus+
Processor  Snapdragon 8 Gen 1
OS Android 12 w/ OneUI 4.1
Memory 8GB RAM / 128GB or 256GB storage
Cameras 50MP F/1.8 w/ Dual Pixel PDAF and OIS + 10MP F/2.4 3x telephoto zoom w/ OIS + 12MP F/2.2 ultra wide angle w/ Super Steady video [rear] / 10MP F/2.2 Dual Pixel PDAF [front]
Battery 3,700mAh w/ 25W fast charging, 15W wireless charging and 4.5W reverse wireless charging
Size/Weight 146 x 70 x 7.6mm / 167g
Samsung Galaxy S22 Review – Specifications for Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 with dual nano SIM variant

In terms of performance, our Samsung Galaxy S22 with a Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 CPU scored the following in synthetic benchmarks

3DMark Wild Life 9,272
3DMark Wild Life Unlimited 6,295
3DMark Wild Life Extreme 2,401
3DMark Wild Life Extreme Unlimited  1,538
Geekbench 5 single-core score 1,229
Geekbench 5 multi-core score 3,267
Geekbench 5 OpenCL score 5,838
Geekbench 5 Vulkan score 6,181
PCMark Work 3.0 score 13,713
PCMark Work 3.0 battery life test 11 hours 23 minutes
Samsung Galaxy S22 Review – Benchmarks

In day-to-day performance, we tested it with the 8GB of assigned VRAM alongside its dedicated 8GB DDR5 RAM and the Galaxy S22 performed like a champ. It can and will take literally everything thrown at it with deft aplomb.

It easily handled the likes of Genshin Impact and Call of Duty Mobile at the highest settings without issue and web browsing as well as other tasks were handled smoothly. Perhaps one modest quibble here is that the phone does tend to get a bit warm after extended usage over a couple of hours but it’s understandable seeing how slim the phone is and is something that can be resolved handily with a casing.

On top of a smoother, more intuitive interface, One UI 4.1 also has a number of immensely useful features along with a minimum of bloatware. It’s a pretty lean and effective UI that remains among the best by any smartphone manufacturer to date.

One useful feature with the Galaxy S22 and by extension almost all Samsung flagship phones in recent memory is the addition of their DeX mode that allows the phone to act as an ersatz PC by pairing up with a display via Miracast or a HDMI cable and projecting a desktop interface.

It’s saved my bacon on more than one occasion when I didn’t have a PC available on hand like on trips where I needed to travel light and the provision of a keyboard and a mouse means that you literally have a pocket sized PC on demand.

Another welcome addition to enhance battery service life with OneUI 4.1  is the option to cap charging at 85%, a feature that was once exclusive to Samsung’s tablets but which has been rolled out to more phones with One UI 4.1 and this comes in very handy for those who like to charge their phones overnight.

Samsung Galaxy S22 Review hand

While I’ve traditionally been accustomed to using large phablets, the Galaxy S22 proved to be a pleasant alternative and its small, compact size means that I could easily navigate the display one-handed without having to change my grip so as to stretch my thumb to reach a distant button. For users with smaller hands and those familiar with more petite phones like the iPhone SE, the Galaxy S22 is a compact delight to handle.

Samsung Galaxy S22 Review – Display

Our Galaxy S22 review sample’s main display has FHD+ resolution which works out to 2,340 by 1,080 pixels with a crisp 425ppi and a dynamic 120Hz refresh rate which allows the phone to adjust between 24Hz to 120Hz depending on what content being played onscreen though you can tweak the settings to keep it to 60Hz to extend battery life. 

That’s just scratching the surface of its capabilities though and the display is able to offer even better clarity in direct sunlight than its predecessors with a peak 1,300 nits. The display also has support for HDR10+ content too and is rated, according to the official literature, for 100% Mobile Colour Volume in the DCI-P3 colour range by VDE Germany. 

Samsung Galaxy S22 Review boba fett

The phone remains pleasantly viewable under direct sunlight though having it in daytime mode with a white background makes text easier to see.

Screen brightness is otherwise excellent and the phone delivers superb colour rendition and crisp detail while animations remain wonderfully smooth onscreen. Samsung’s mastery of display tech is on display here and movies are a treat to watch on the Galaxy S22 with the provided speakers offering a good amount of volume and detail.

Samsung Galaxy S22 Review – Battery Life

In terms of battery life, our Galaxy S22 review unit managed about 11 hours and 23 minutes via PCMark’s Work 3.0 battery life test though under practical field conditions it’s able to last the better part of a day with a top up in the early evening and likely a full day assuming you’re a bit more prudent with battery usage and eschew gaming or heavy movie watching.

Samsung Galaxy S22 Review pcmark battery

The phone features 25W wired charging which is, on paper at least, slower than the provided 45W charging of the Galaxy S22+ and Galaxy S22 Ultra. From dead zero with a compatible charger where we elected to use the reliable third party UGREEN 100W GaN Charger, the Galaxy S22’s modest 3,700mAh battery was still able to charge at a fair clip and managed to get to 100% in 1 hour and 20 minutes.

Samsung Galaxy S22 Review – Cameras

In terms of imaging hardware, our Samsung Galaxy S22 review sample features a triple rear camera setup centred around a primary 50MP F/1.8 camera with Dual Pixel PDAF and OIS sheathed in a new set of glass that minimises aberrations called Super Clear Glass. Complementing this is a secondary 12MP F/2.2 ultra wide angle camera and a 10MP F/2.4 telephoto camera with 3x optical zoom, PDAF and OIS. The front features a 10MP F/2.2 selfie camera. 

Samsung Galaxy S22 Review rear cameras

Our Samsung Galaxy S22 Review sample features a primary 50MP camera, a 12MP ultra wide angle camera and a 10MP camera with 3x optical zoom

The rear camera array is capable of 12MP stills from a 0.6x wide angle all the way to an intermediate 3x optical zoom all the way to an impressive 30x Space Zoom hybrid zoom.

It’s also capable of capturing full-sized 50MP stills too and has an optional Detail Enhancer that leverages AI settings to intelligently stack several shots with a single pull of the shutter release to retain the best detail possible while intelligently adjusting shadows and highlights. 

Samsung Galaxy S22 Review flowers

This rear triple camera setup is also capable of up to 8K@24fps video while the front is capped at 4K@60fps video and 10MP stills. This camera setup and performance envelope is also mirrored on the Galaxy S22+ with the top of the line Galaxy S22 Ultra featuring an entirely different camera setup altogether.

Samsung Galaxy S22 Review selfie

Even with a bright background, our Galaxy S22’s front selfie camera managed to get a decent selfie

Samsung Galaxy S22 Review primary rear

Samsung Galaxy S22 Review food

The Galaxy S22 and its siblings also take heavier advantage of computational photography this time around to capture better shots and smoother footage. The phone now has an auto framerate for video capture that can alter the frames per second in captured video for best results and has a Super Night Solution to scrub noise and retain detail in shots in dim light.

As a point and shoot, the Galaxy S22 is outstanding with the ability to capture shots brimming with detail and great colour accuracy with superb dynamic range from its ultra wide mode all the way to 3x optical zoom.

Samsung Galaxy S22 Review ultrawide

Ultrawide angle rear camera on auto mode capture with our Galaxy S22 review sample

Samsung Galaxy S22 Review 1x primary

Captured with the primary rear camera at 1x zoom

Samsung Galaxy S22 Review 3x

Captured at 3x zoom on the rear camera array

Samsung Galaxy S22 Review 30x space zoom

30X Space Zoom on the rear camera array

Even at maximum 30x Space Zoom, the phone was able to deliver pretty usable shots and best of all, the new AI enhancements have resolved a classic problem prevalent with taking shots at such high optical zoom – hand judder –  as it’s able to offer impressive stabilisation so you needn’t have to fumble about like earlier generation phones.

Last year’s Galaxy S21 was already quite capable on its own for shots in dim light but the Galaxy S22 takes it up the notch with even better low light photography with swifter subject acquisition and better results in low light on auto mode and in Night mode.

Samsung Galaxy S22 Review ultrawide

Our Samsung Galaxy S22 review sample was able to serve up great shots in low light scenarios and at night

Samsung Galaxy S22 Review 1x auto

Low light on the rear camera at 1x zoom

Samsung Galaxy S22 Review 3x zoom

3x optical zoom on auto with the rear camera array

Samsung Galaxy S22 Review 30x space zoom

30X space zoom on the rear camera with legible text on the signboard

By and large, the AI in tandem with the excellent cameras handles low light shots in a fantastic fashion with improved control and retention of highlights and salvaging detail from shadows in the shot especially when Night mode is enabled. Zoomed in shots beyond 3x do look somewhat soft at low light scenarios but it’s already a triumph that the Galaxy S22’s cameras can already achieve so much in such a compact form factor.

For videos, the Galaxy S22’s rear cameras offer great results in 4K@60fps that are very usable while the vaunted 8K resolution video capture is somewhat overkill at this point in time as it needs an inordinate amount of hardware to edit and playing it back is best done on a Samsung 8K QLED TV. 

Samsung Galaxy S22 Review camera ui

The rear camera array has a selectable ultra steady mode that’s as smooth as a gimbal though this is only available on 1080p@60fps or 1080p@30fps. There’s still a bit of AI stabilisation at higher modes all the way up to 8K and the improvements over the S21 are substantial in quality and in the steadiness of footage.

All in, you’re getting one of the best smartphone camera setups in a compact Android phone.

Should you buy the Samsung Galaxy S22?

It’s typically a close competition with near peer equivalents when it comes to Android smartphones but the Galaxy S22 handily trumps the competition in the vast majority of key areas with a fantastic display, superb build quality, superb longevity with 4 years of Android updates and an excellent camera array capable of capturing superb shots and video. For those who already own the Galaxy S21, the Galaxy S22 comes at the same price point but with justifiably improved camera and hardware performance to justify an upgrade or a trade-in.

Hitech Century Gold Award

While battery life could be better, the Galaxy S22 is otherwise one of, if not the best compact flagship phone that money can buy for 2022. If you’re looking for slightly better battery life and a slightly bigger display, the Galaxy S22+ is a viable choice. Those seeking the best Android phone that money can buy along with the addition of an S Pen stylus will appreciate what the Galaxy S22 Ultra has to offer.

Samsung Galaxy S22 Review phantom black

Samsung Galaxy S22 review unit courtesy of Samsung Malaysia. To purchase please visit their official Samsung online store at https://www.samsung.com/my/smartphones/galaxy-s22/

Samsung Galaxy S22
4.3
  • Display
  • Performance
  • Cameras
  • Battery Life
  • Value

Samsung Galaxy S22

The Samsung Galaxy S22 sets the bar for what a flagship phone ought to be with outstanding build quality, one of the best displays of its kind and superb performance paired with an excellent rear camera array. The svelte dimensions and potent performance of the Galaxy S22 make it an easy recommendation for mainstream users who want one of, if not the best Android phone that money can buy in Malaysia.

Pros

Superb 120Hz Dynamic AMOLED 2X display

Outstanding build quality and design

Excellent cameras

Smooth performance

5 years of security updates

Cons

Battery life could be better

No WiFi 6E

No UWB